“We live & work in the village of Kumbamitwe (“Ku-Ba-mEat-way”). Most people in our village are “diggers”, or what we might call farmers. They don’t have any machinery-their only tool is a hoe and they do all their planting by hand. They clear the land of brush by using a big long knife called a machete. When they’re clearing the land they have to be very careful and alert for snakes-we have lots of big poisonous snakes! Cobras, pythons, black mambas, and many other dangerous snakes. Some of the snakes are as thick around as your leg and can be as big as 12 feet long. Thankfully, I haven’t run into any big ones yet!!! The farmers also have to protect their gardens from the monkeys that live in the jungle around us (they love to steal the produce!) and they also have to watch out for termites and army ants.
The farmers here grow many different types of vegetables, as well as some fruits and things that we can’t grow-Like Avocados, mangos, and passion fruit. Uganda grows some of the world’s best pineapples! (They are sweeter and tastier than any other pineapples I’ve ever had.)
Because they do all their farming by hand and farming is most peoples only income they are very poor. Some of the children want to go to school, but their parents can’t afford to send them. Each semester of school (in a “local” school) costs an average of $15 per child—still some parents struggle to save enough money so their children can go to school. We opened a Christian school in our village called Legacy Christian Academy where 100 children are learning how to read, write-and most importantly they’re learning about Jesus and His Word! Our school is funded by kids in America who sponsor individual children. The parents pay for their children’s school uniforms each semester. The children love attending school and learn quickly and enthusiastically! They are grateful that they have the opportunity to come to a good school, because they know that some of their friends can’t afford to go to school at all. Ugandan kids love to dance, sing, and clap. They also love to play soccer. Most of them don’t have toys, but they make toys by playing with wooden hoops, sticks, and whatever else they may find around.
The people in our village live in mud huts with grass roofs; and others live in houses made of homemade clay bricks with metal roofs. If they can afford it, they have cement floors in their homes-others just have a dirt floor.
They cook their food outside over charcoal fire pots. They sweep the dirt outside their huts just like you would sweep your floor! Because it’s warm here, the dirt underneath hardens and provides a clay walkway of sorts.
The people in our village don’t yet have electricity in their homes; but our village will soon have electricity as the power company is installing poles! The families in the village don’t have water in their homes or on their own property-they go to a community well and use a hand pump to fill their jugs. They have to haul their water home in big jugs. Hauling water is usually the children’s job. Can you imagine having to haul the water for your cooking, washing dishes, and bath every day? Some of them have a long walk to haul their water home. Kids will sometimes use their parent’s bike and tie the water jugs on the bike. Some of them are too little to ride the bike, but they push the bike from the side and let the weight of the water jugs rest on the bike. They don’t have inside toilets, but rather they have a hole (about the size of a brick) in the ground outside and they squat over the hole to use the bathroom. Every day Ugandan kids take a bath-not a big bath in the bath tub like you do, but a they fill a small basin and scrub themselves clean. Usually their baths happen in the back yard of their home.
Families that are better off own some chickens and perhaps a goat, pig, or even a cow. These animals are usually taken somewhere during the day to graze and then they come home at night. It’s not unusual to see people with chickens or other animals wandering in their house or around their porch. One day when I was eating lunch at a Ugandan home, a few chickens wandered in and walked through our food! Most villagers eat sitting on the floor on mats. Some who have more money might own some furniture, but most people just have mats to sit on.
Africa is warm all year long. We don’t have four seasons like they do in Canada. We have only rainy season and dry season.
Our main job in Africa is telling people about Jesus and teaching them the Bible.
A few years ago we started a church in our village. We now have around 160 kids who come each week, and around 80 adults.
(This is one of two Sunday School Classes at our church-this is the class ages 9 and up. We have about 60-65 kids in this class each week. Many of the people in our village don’t have Bibles, so when I told the kids that if they completed a set of memory verses they could earn their very own Bible they were VERY excited!
A couple of them learned the 30 verses in only three weeks! The rest of the kids are continuing to work very hard to earn their new Bibles—each week the room is filled with excitement as the children line up to recite their memory verses. The Bibles are in their own language, Luganda. The Bibles cost 25,000 shillings (about $10-11 dollars each) )
The kids love coming to Sunday School. Each week they get to color a picture with crayons-they think the crayons are pretty special! Each week they learn a Bible story and they learn more about Jesus and His love for them. Pray that they would grow to love Jesus with all their hearts.
We also have weekly Bible studies with the kid’s Moms. There is a Bible study for ladies almost every day of the week-each one is in a different village or area around our church. We usually sit outside on mats under trees. Sometimes the kids are also home and they come and sit and listen to God’s Word as well. Not all of the Moms can read so they like coming to Bible study so they can hear more of God’s Word. You can pray for the people in our village to grow to worship Jesus and honor Him with their lives.
The other part of our job is working in the office organizing our countrywide ministry in Uganda. We are training pastors to know how to teach their churches God’s Word. Sometimes we spend weeks travelling around the country of Uganda visiting the pastors in their own churches encouraging them. Some of the churches are only made of sticks with metal sheets on the roof. Many of the pastors also dig (farm) because the churches can’t afford to pay them very much-they have to grow food and sell it to have money to raise their families. Pray that God would strengthen and encourage the pastors—and that they would be faithful to love Jesus and serve the people in their church.
The people in Uganda don’t have many material goods like we do back in Canada, but they treasure their friends and always give you a warm smile. In Canada you might see someone and say “hi” and keep walking, but in Uganda you stop walking and participate in a greeting. It goes something like this:
Me: “Wasoozay otia, Sabo!” (Good morning Sir)
To which he would reply: “Baloonge, Nabo” (I am good maam)
Him: Wasoozay otia, Nabo: (Good Morning Madam.)
Me: “Baloonge, Sabo” (I am Good, sir)
Me: “Oliotia, Sabo” (How are you Sir?)
To which he would reply: “Gendi, Nabo” (Fine, Madam)
Him: Oliotia Nabo (How are you Madam)
To which I would reply “Gendi Sabo” (Fine, sir)
Me: “Abekah Bali batia?” (How are the people in your house?)
To which he would reply: “Baloonge Nabo” (They are Good Madam)
Him: “Abekah Bali batia?” (How are the people in your house?)
Me: “Baloonge Sabo” (They are good sir)
…â€¨As you can see, these greetings can go on for quite some time!
I hope this has helped you learn a little more about Uganda, as well as what we do! You can pray that God would continue to keep us safe and healthy and that He would keep our focus on loving Him and living for heaven. Sometimes we miss our homes, our family, our friends, and the many conveniences we had back home-but we know that this is where God wants us right now; and He gives us great joy in serving Him. We feel privileged to be able to serve Him here!
Someday we will go to heaven and we won’t have to be separated from our family and friends and we will get to see Jesus—and there will be electricity, it won’t be hot, everything will be clean, there won’t be any disease, sadness or poverty! … And hopefully we will have lots of Ugandan friends in heaven with us!